28 September 2009

"You can't always get what you want" --The Rolling Stones

Sunday, I go to get my hair re-evaluated and possibly cut at a recommended salon where two stylists cluck sympathetically at me and say things like "Oh, my!" and "Where did you have it done?" and "You mean it's been a month already?! You poor thing."

But before all that, I find myself at the door of the salon half an hour early* so I decide to get myself an iced tea next door.**

Clerk #1 is standing behind the cash register. Clerk #2 is three feet away. Clerk #1 is just standing and staring. Not at me. Perhaps she is dreaming of a glittery vampire.

Me, after waiting a minute: Good morning.

Clerk #1, in a flat, disgusted tone, like I am one of those "Save the Children" kids and I have way too many flies landing on me***: Hi.

Me, smiling: How are you?

Clerk #1, in same disgusted tone with a new hint of irritation, as if to say "How dare you speak to me with your marmot hair": I'm fine. Can I help you?

Me, looking back at board of options: I'd like a peach iced tea, please.

Clerk #1 to Clerk #2, with the same Ben Stein delivery: Peach iced tea.

Clerk #2, equally enthusiastically: Small or large?

Me: Small is fine.

A minute passes.

Clerk #1 to Clerk #2: Do we have any more peach?

Clerk #2: No.

Clerk #1 to me, as if I wasn't standing a foot away this whole time: We don't have any more peach.

Me, obligingly: Oh.

Clerk #1, sighing: We have raspberry.

Me: Um, no. How about just regular iced tea...

Clerk #1 to Clerk #2: Regular iced tea.

Clerk #1 to me: Small or large?

Me, thinking I only wanted a small of the preferred kind and now that I have to accept a lesser tea you think I'm going to want more?: Small is fine.

Clerk #1 to Clerk #2: Small.

Clerk #1 rings up the sale. Clerk #2 gives me my tea.

I scout around for the straw dispenser and find it farther back along the narrow aisle that is the customers' side of the counter. I get my straw. Someone else gets their share of joy from Thing 1 and Thing 2 and as I am coming to pass this customer, she drops a bagel, which causes her to simultaneously bend down and back up into me thrusting her buttal region in my general direction. This causes me to do a twisty side step, inadvertently hip-checking the basket of baguettes which topple over onto the floor.

Me, horrified and trying to reach for the basket which is now blocked behind the other customer's expansive buttal region: I'm so sorry!

Clerk #1 and Clerk #2 ignore us, continuing to stare into space. The other customer lifts the basket of baguettes off the floor and rights it. Mmmm, floor bread.

Moral: Never go anywhere with marmot hair.

* Stupid Metro never delays when you need it to.

** True confession: I may have said "ice tea" instead of "iced tea" until very recently. At least I didn't say pacific for specific. I know people that do that! I do! OMG! Right?!

***More than three is gauche.

23 September 2009

"Oh, what a strange magic" --Electric Light Orchestra

This all transpired over the last week:

  • I was talking to my mother about different people having different senses of humor and she brought up a time back in the mid-80s that we had gone to see "The Foreigner" at the Olney Theater. I wouldn't have remembered the name of the play, but I remembered the experience of going. We had laughed uproariously at it, all of us except my ex-husband, who sat there, barely cracking a smile.
  • It got me thinking about my desire to see more live theater (the dead stuff is way overrated), which I mentioned to my current husband. He did a bit of research into what was playing and found a promising comedy at a local theater. He bought us tickets for this Sunday's matinee at the Little Theater of Alexandria for... (wait for it) ... "The Foreigner".
  • Then, I am watching a rerun of Becker and I recognize a bit player who is portraying the character of Mr. Richards. I look him up on IMDb & Wiki. Sure enough, he is played by Patrick Richwood, who won a Helen Hays Award for his portrayal of "Ellard" at the Olney Theater in the 1986 production of... (uh-huh) ... "The Foreigner."

From the movie
Repo Man:

Ever have one of those weeks? (Leaving the acid question aside...) Does this sort of thing happen to you?

22 September 2009

Scenes from my childhood

I don't miss school. I miss rubber cement.

When I was in school, we made rubber cement forest pictures.

We drew all these trees. (You know how everybody draws trees and they look nothing like real trees? [See sample above.] How does everybody know that this is the universally accepted way to draw a tree when it looks nothing like a tree? Admit it, if you saw something that looked like that in a park, you would freak the f#@k out. Anyway, we drew those.) Then we painted the background and then we put rubber cement over the bark area and then we painted them some more with this light washy paint and then--and this is the really exciting part--we peeled the rubber cement just a little in various places to look like the bark was peeling and viola! Art. Honest to god art with honest to god art effects. And there was that kid who said the rubber cement looked like boogers and laughed and ran around trying to smear it on you like it was a booger. But so what? You had this cool rubber cement forest picture.

I miss rubber cement.

21 September 2009

"Hey nineteen, No, we can't dance together, No, we can't talk at all" --Steely Dan

Hello, my cheeky monkeys! Yes, in a stunning upset, "your cheeky monkey" ran, screeching, past "Hoss", did a backflip and flung poo at "your blogmuffin" and won the poll in its final hours. Like the most ruthless Ebay bidder swooping in in the final minutes to prise that Star Wars plate away from prleia33, you made it happen! Thanks for voting to let me know your real desires. I will honor your wishes, although I was sort of hoping to call you my blogmuffin. Guess we'll save that for our more private moments.

So, on with today's post.. a bit of a heavy one today...

When you get to know people in the blogosphere, you often don't know who or what they are before you know their ideas, their opinions, their hopes, their fears, their values, their sense of humor, etc. This is what you build connections on. This appeals to me, which is why my profile photo is not entirely helpful to those seeking to figure out what/who I am. In contrast, in the real world, we often judge based on our first visual impression. We make decisions based on what we see or what we think we see.

At the party last week, a friend who was in his late 40s walked into a room that had a bunch of 20-somethings in it and I began to introduce him. He cut me off, saying "Nevermind. Too young!"

At the time I thought, "What an ass." I did. I knew these people. I liked these people. To write them off based on their age was a lousy thing to do. (And, weirdly enough, after the party, we realized we had people in attendance who were in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Which I think is non-standard. We didn't plan it that way. It just was.)

This friend was rude to dismiss people to their face, but I've heard this sentiment, privately, a lot, in both directions. Younger people saying they didn't want to hang out with an older crowd and older people saying they had no interest in hanging out with younger people.

Fast forward a week and we are at a party where 90% of the crowd is 20 years younger than us. We don't even know the hosts all that well, much less anyone else at the party, but we make our way in and chat with a variety of people and have a reasonably good time.

It is an 80s party complete with costumes (think Madonna in the early years, hair band members, Alf.) And I'm struck thinking that most of them probably don't remember much of the 80s as they were little kids. It is just a fun theme. Meanwhile, I went to college in the 80s. I got married and divorced in the 80s. I started my career in the 80s. I wore those clothes and listened to that music... And it is hard for me not to feel a bit distant from these people, even as I think I shouldn't be judging them based on their age.

Yet, the age we are, in many ways, defines what phase we are in and what our priorities are. It means we remember where we were at, personally, when the country was going through various phases. It gives us context, similar experience, shapes our attitudes. Yet, we're all human beings. We all have commonalities if we seek them out.

Thus, to today's question: You enter a party and people are way off in age from you (>15 years younger or older, your choice.) Honestly, what's your first reaction? Do you try to mix or do you politely keep your distance?

18 September 2009

"Here's the story of a lovely lady" --Brady Bunch (DeVol & Schwartz)

*links arms*

Walk with me. Talk with me. Let's visit the land of hypothetical, hmm?

Let's say you're you. Okay? So far so good?

And let's say you have a friend, who we'll call Friend. And let's say Friend has a significant other, who we'll call SO. Got it?

Now Friend is actually a pretty decent friend. Friend seeks you out, supports you, connects with you as you'd expect a friend would and Friend can be fun. So, you enjoy hanging out with Friend.

Over time, you see that whither Friend goest, goes SO. You make several attempts to get to know SO but SO isn't warming to you. At first, you write it off to poor social skills on SO's part. But, after a while you begin to think maybe SO just doesn't like you. SO isn't rude, per se, but makes no effort to talk with you. None. When you talk to SO, you get the bare minimum back. And, you're not sure, but maybe SO is giving off a vibe. A not so nice vibe.

So, hypothetically, of course... what do you do?

17 September 2009

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming for this important announcement

For the love of god, people, this is your last day to vote! And (just like the American election system) we are down to only two real choices: "your blogmuffin" and "Hoss", which are completely tied up! OMG!OMG!OMG! Don't throw your vote away on Ron Paul, I mean "your jujubee".

Poll is still open, as I write this, but hurry. Figure out what you want me to call you. Up there, on the right... DO IT!!

PS to the paranoids (Yeah, I'm looking at you lurkers): The poll does not track you. I have no idea who you are or what you voted for, so step up, people!

16 September 2009

"Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion" --David Bowie

Many years ago, I was on a business trip to Boston and had a little time on my hands before my conference started. So, I wandered around the streets looking at stuff. This was the era when women accessorized with a large scarf wrapped haphazardly around the neck. I passed a street vendor with some pretty scarf options and thought, why not have a souvenir of Boston? I picked out a nice black and white one. I loved it and wore it a lot.

That is, I loved it up until my sister saw it.

Sister, eyes growing wide: Oh my god! Are you wearing a keffiyeh?!
Me: ...what?
Sister, getting louder: You're wearing a keffiyeh!
Me: A what?
Sister: Don't you know what a keffiyeh is? That's what Yasser Arafat wears. Are you PLO now?!

Urg. I took it off and stuffed it in the closet and eventually gave it away. Because I wasn't trying to make a political statement, I just thought it was pretty. But Yasser? Not such a pretty fella.

Once you know something, you can't not know it. I couldn't see the scarf as pretty anymore.

[My sister may have yelled at Rachael Ray, too.]

This leads to the question du jour: Have you loved something until somebody told you something about it or just dissed it so incessantly that you couldn't love it anymore?*

* For the record, Narm, no matter how many times you tell me why Nickelback sucks, I still love them.**

** Has anybody else noticed that Daughtry and Nickelback are sounding suspiciously more and more alike? Check it.

15 September 2009

"Hello? Is there anybody in there?" --Pink Floyd

So, how hard can it be to come up with a psychological profile? People do it all the time. And get rich! What say we give it a try. You can be my test group.

The "Hand Me That" Profile.

Instructions: Choose one and only one answer for each numbered item. Do not dwell. Pick the the letter that corresponds to the first answer that appeals to you.

A. Stapler
B. Scissors
C. White Out
D. Tuberculosis

A. Mixing Bowl
B. Pastry Cutter
C. To Go Menu
D. Tuberculosis

A. Trowel
B. Pick Axe
C. Lime
D. Tuberculosis

A. Clamp
B. Scalpel
C. Release form
D. Tuberculosis

Now, tally up your answers. If you answered mostly:

A: You are The Tinker Toy God. You are a creative person. Often you create something out of nothing... mountains out of molehills. Your need to create has gotten way out of hand. Let it go.

B: You are The Ripper. You believe the only way forward is by cutting through all that is extraneous. You feel stabby a lot of the time. Trust your instincts. The voices know best.

C: You are The Weasel. What are you hiding? You present one image to the world while maintaining a separate one in private. Eventually the truth will out. Leave the country.

D: You are The Average Joe. Being average isn't pretty. Consider mixing it up now and then. Try something new. And see a doctor.

14 September 2009

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" --Dionne Warwick (Redux)

So, a few housekeeping details...

First, go vote in my poll if you haven't done so already. Up on the right there. It's a big decision.

Second, a big thanks to my friends, who I think are wonderful, just for being their delightful selves. We threw a low-key, little shindig this weekend and, even though I was wrapped tighter than a 7-11 taquito--Martha Stewart I am so so not, the gracious people that showed were marvelous.

And now on with today's post...

So, we skyrocketed into 2003: We bought a GPS. Got ourselves a Garmin. So, now I argue with the Garmin. Garmin gets me in touch with my inner Kanye.

Ah, Garmin, who, by the way has a masculine name but a feminine voice. I don't judge. Although I do think it's curious that directing software (GPSes, Information, phone trees) all have female voices but all the top DJs are male. *scratches head* So we want to be entertained by men but be ordered about by women?

Garmin: Turn right at Franklin Street in 1 mile.
Me: No.
Garmin: Turn right at Franklin Street in 300 feet.
Me: Eff that!
Garmin: *brief pause while Garmin silently judges me for being the insolent brat I am. Then, simply...* Recalculating.

Garmin is clever. Garmin is better with time estimates than I am. And Garmin always knows the speed limit, even when I can't see a sign for it.

But Garmin isn't perfect. Garmin may know that Franklin is the shortest route but Garmin doesn't seem to care that there's a deadly left turn that's on the other side of Franklin and I'm not gonna risk my neck just to make Garmin feel good about itself.

And, where Garmin gets us where we need to be 99% of the time, Garmin sometimes screws up. Garmin has taken us in loops. Seriously. It told us to take a particular road and then went into "recalculating" mode, turning us around, as if we'd made the decision instead of it. Bastard. (Bitch?)

And, on rare occasion, it will take us close to where we want to be without actually delivering us to the destination. Like an obstinate cabby on the edge of a sketchy neighborhood refusing to go any farther...

Garmin: Arrive at destination in 100 feet.
Us: What? This isn't the destination.
Garmin: Arrive at destination.
Us: WTF? This isn't the destination!

And--now, this is really sad--when Garmin gets it wrong? I feel a little smug. Who's recalculating now, Garmin? Hmmm?

13 September 2009

Voting on the important issues

[Click to enlarge photo.]

Up there... see it? Got a poll up on the right. Make your vote count!

11 September 2009

Assorted Flotsam

  • There are certain things I just can't do. I can't not flush a toilet and I can't not sign a check. I've tried. Mum asks me to write out some checks for her as her hand isn't so steady now. I'll fill out a check --the date, the amount-- thinking "Don't sign, don't sign, don't sign", and then? I sign it. And then I curse. Similarly, I go into the bathroom hearing the shower running and I think "Don't flush, don't flush, don't flush" and then I do what nature requires, and then? I flush. Automatically. And then I hear cursing.
  • Party philosophy: 10% food, 10% drinks, 15% weather, 5% magic and 60% people. You bring an interesting mix of people together and the rest doesn't matter. What's your party philosophy?
  • I don't generally like to mess with symbols that are near and dear to people's hearts. That's why, even though I'm not a Christian, I get a little irked when people co-opt the Christian fish symbol. But I am impressed with the variety of riffs out there. I've seen the Darwin version, the Evolve version, the Gefilte version, the Flying Spaghetti Monster version, the Sushi version, and today I saw one filled in with "'N' Chips".
  • That's a Milwaukee's Best (aka cheapass Miller) beer truck I spotted on the road. I snapped a picture of it because of the slogan, "BREWED FOR A MAN'S TASTE." First, it supposes men have taste, an interesting supposition. (Ooooo, slam!) Second, I spent a good bit of time trying to think how that beer might be brewed. Did it taste of poker tables and cigars? Dick Cheney's hunting rifle? The sweat of the NFL? Pamela Anderson? What?
PS New poll up there on the right. Check it out.

09 September 2009

"So I might steal your diamonds, I'll bring you back some gold" --Gregg Allman

First, I've been taking a lot lately. I've been greedily grabbing up the goods. I've practically shouted like Daffy Duck "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

In the last few months, I've gotten a Nintendo DSi (which I play with every day!) thanks to LiLu, a pair of fabulous Gap jeans thanks to PQ, a yummy Hershey's with Almonds thanks to Spleeness, and a $20 Amazon gift card (which I've already spent with abandon) thanks to Just A Girl. Thank you all!! You rock!

Bloggers? They are in large part givers! And when I say they, I mean you! But, even better than the great swag, you give of yourselves. You share what's in your heart. You offer kindness and wit and insights daily. And for that, I heart you all!

Okay, enough with the shmoopyness.

While we're talking about taking and giving...

I was once in a relationship with a guy who told me a number of times that he thought I gave to him more than he gave to me. Yeah, I'm not in that relationship any more. Because it's all about me, right? Me, me, me.*

People say in an ideal relationship that both parties give and give and give. Or they say that both parties give but give in different ways. Mmmmmaybe. I look around and in most of the relationships I see, there is give and take but there's also often a clear giver and a clear taker. You know? 60/40 or 70/30 even. Now before you get your back up, let me say that I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If it works for the people involved, great.

Which leads me to the question of the day: Are you the giver or the taker most of the time in your relationship(s)?** And whichever role you're in, are you cool with that?

(Come on, you know you want to give me your answer.)

* Or you. Either way. You know. Doesn't matter. *rolls eyes*

** And if you still insist your dead even, then you are probably the giver.

07 September 2009

"...and what have we done... another year older..." --John Lennon


Tiger Woods started playing golf at age 2. H.P. Lovecraft wrote long poems at age 5. Wolfie Mozart did his first composition at age 6. Pablo Picasso painted Picador at age 8. Blaise Pascal wrote a treatise on vibrating bodies at age 9. Jean Piaget published a paper on the albino sparrow at age 11. Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship at age 14.

Can we all agree these people are/were freaks? I mean, really, talk about setting the bar too frickin' high for the rest of us. Talk about messing up the curve. Talk about pressure!

Nobody expects you to be a success at 2. If you're getting your sippy cup to your mouth at 2, that's worthy of applause! In fact, knowing some of you as I do, that's still a pretty darn good accomplishment!

Ah, 2... Those were the days, hm? Your meals provided for you. None of that having to microwave your own ramen, gosh darn it. Anybody else remember the Gerber's Spaghetti and Meatballs? Mmmmm. But I regress.

The thing is, at 2, we know what is exceptional. As we do at 12. Even at 22, we have some markers. But at 32? 42? 52? Things get fuzzier. When we're little, we're told we can do anything with our lives. The sky's the limit. So, we all dream of being extraordinary in some way, right? Even if we aren't precocious.

And this leads to the question of the day: By what age do you think you need to be successful? Or, alternately, at what age do you say, well, I haven't done anything extraordinary yet, so I guess I won't?

02 September 2009

"Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk" --South Pacific (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

When you're together for a long time, they say you start to look like each other. Wait, that's with dogs, right? You start to look like your dog. Well, I don't think we look like each other, or dogs, but, then, we don't have a dog. Maybe if we had a dog we'd start to look like it. Or maybe people just pick dogs that they look like already because they're vain. Or maybe it's not vanity. Maybe they're just more comfortable with stuff that's familiar. Like dogs that look like them. If they cock their heads and flop their ears and lick themselves.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. Not looks or dogs.

After eight years of marriage and about the same amount of time together before we got married, the Hubster and I have developed a shorthand in email/IM and in discussion. And, lucky you, I'm about to let you in on some of it.


Definition: Short for "Knew you'd want to know." Only used in written format.

"That icky thing finally fell off. Kywtk."


Definition: Short for "Because you have to know everything." Only used in written format. Similar to Kywtk but, where Kywtk is sometimes preceded by useful information, as in "The plumber finally called back. Kywtk.", Byhtke is not. Both are used to pre-empt the inevitable question "Why are you telling me this?!"

"I watched back to back episodes of The Golden Girls. Byhtke."

"[ ]"

Definition: This is shorthand for "No comment." Only used in written format. It often is placed before the body of a forwarded message. Where it can literally mean "I am sharing this but have no comment on it," it more often means "I am beyond words at the sheer stupidity of this."


[ ]

{Forwarded message from corporate:}

Oh, and remember: next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.


Definition: Code word for "your bra strap is showing."


*whispered* "Koala."
*adjust* "Thanks."

"Don't get any on the wooden floor."

Definition: This is the equivalent of an eye roll and is used in response to a statement that is so obvious, it need not be said.

When we first moved in, we had hardwood floors put in and we loved them. We then set about painting. While Hubby was opening the lid to the can of paint, I, anxious and ever helpful, said "Don't get any on the wooden floor." He looked at me with such unabashed disappointment and disgust and said "Really? I shouldn't pour the paint on the wooden floor? REALLY?" that I burst out laughing. I'm laughing as I type this. Yeah, Mistress of the Obvious, that's me.


"Drive carefully."
"Yeah, and don't get any on the wooden floor."

So, why did I choose to share all this with you? Byhtke.

01 September 2009

"Why don't we live together, only the two of us, we'll learn to trust" --Barry Manilow

Left work early yesterday (yay!) because I wasn't feeling well (boo!) Turns out I was running a fever (And you thought I was faking. I never fake! [TMI?])

So, I am home today being all sickly and pathetic and parenthetical. *pokes lower lip out* (Feel sorry for me?) If you've got to be sick you might as well get some sympathy, right? Go on, pat my head and tell me how beautiful I am even when I'm whiny and my color is off and I'm sweaty and my hair is matted and...

Moving on. Let's see what feverlicious post I can generate today, hmmm?

So, there's that study that says that if you live together without being engaged and then get married you have a higher likelihood of divorce than people who don't live together before marriage or that live together while engaged. (Not that the incidence of divorce is so low anyway, but whatevs.) Did you see that?

That's kind of interesting. And counter-intuitive because for years people said that if you lived together you'd get to know each other well and you'd build a more solid relationship. The study seems to come to the conclusion that once you're living together, you often head toward marriage not so much because it's what you want, but because what else are you going to do? It's not like you can easily start dating someone else while you're living with someone. "Mmm, yeah, they're still painting my place so we have to go back to your place. Again. I know it's been months. The painters are, um, slow. Really slow. Let me just call the... cat-sitter and let her know I'm... not going to make it home to feed Boopsie."

And you know who suffers the most? Boopsie. You try to hide the pain but it's the cat that always knows. Is it any wonder Boopsie eats your face off when you die? It has nothing to do with running out of Friskies. Boopsie can't bare to see your lying eyes.